The Arctic Ocean and the surrounded atmosphere are warming up persistently, and this will result in new emerging threats by the change in the environmental system as reported in the Arctic Report Card: Update for 2018 by the United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The rate of warming in the Arctic is twice the rate of warming in the other parts of the globe. Starting from 2014 until now, in these five years the Arctic has crossed all the previous records since 1900 regarding the temperature of the air.
Due to the continued warming of the atmosphere, there are noticeable changes like terrestrial snow cover is declining, there is an increase in summertime discharge of Arctic river, Ice Sheet of Greenland and lake ice is melting, and the vegetation of Arctic tundra expanded and its greening.
Over the last 20 years, the population of caribou and wild reindeer across the Arctic tundra came down to nearly half though there is plenty of vegetation available for gazing.
Arctic sea ice appeared to be different in the year 2018 and is younger, thinner and covering less area than before. In the last 12 years, satellite record captured 12 lowest extents. That means rapid loss of sea ice because of rising temperature.
Emily Osborne, Program Manager, NOAA Arctic Research Program in an interview on AGU TV while discussing this year’s Arctic Report Card, said that as the warming trend is long-term, so it has resulted into new issues that were hard to anticipate earlier.
The new threat to food sources in the Arctic Ocean is arising due to the simultaneous occurrence of warming conditions with the expansion of harmful toxic algal blooms.
Since the beginning of the measurement in the seventy’s, coastal land-fast sea ice is declining on a long-term basis as Pan-Arctic observations suggest and it is affecting local communities regarding traveling, hunting, and coastal protection.
Sea surface temperatures of late summer of spatial patterns cause variability in sea-ice retreat, advection of waters from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and regional air temperature.
In the region of Bering Sea, off the west coast of Alaska, ocean primary productivity levels were higher by 500 percent compared to the normal level, and the sea ice extent is record low for virtually the whole 2017-18 ice season.
The microplastic contamination in the Arctic is increasing day by day, and marine life and seabirds are under threat in case debris are ingested by them.
World Wildlife Fund released an online statement of Margaret Williams, managing director for US Arctic programs in response to Arctic Report Card: Update for 2018 of NOAA. William said the changes in the Arctic region reminded us the indelible mark of climate change on our world.
The thawing permafrost and shrinking Arctic sea ice is the result of warming temperatures for which wildlife species are losing their habitat; sea levels are rising around the world and from Nome to New Orleans communities are affected.
As per William, the impacts of climate catastrophe are deadly and costly such as devastating hurricanes in the southeastern America and wildfires in California. We are facing the effects faster than we expected and our current efforts to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases are not sufficient to stop climate change.
However, it’s not too late. This week in the leaders meet at the UN climate talks in Poland, we can push them to start action towards reducing GHG emissions and accelerating the transition of clean energy. Our Earth and all the species are dependent on it.
We should stop the warming of the temperature to prevent new threats from taking shape.